sexual violence

Preventing and Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) as a Tool of War

Dear Colleagues,

Search for Common Ground invites you to join us for a UNGA side-event focused on conflict-related sexual violence as a mechanism of war. This event is hosted in collaboration with the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security.  Against the backdrop of events transpiring in Afghanistan, this panel discussion seeks to showcase the imperative need to prevent and address conflict-related sexual violence around the world, to promote the safety, security, and prosperity of all people.

The panel will cover historic and present-day examples of CRSV; policy and programming approaches to preventing and addressing CRSV; and lessons learned from civil society representatives in conflict-affected countries on the impact of CRSV interventions.

Please use the following link to register: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUlc-ChpzwtEt171qKG-jP4sgpcZViJVUf2

We look forward to your participation and encourage you to share this invitation with your partners. For questions about the event, please contact Anna Crouch at acrouch@sfcg.org.

Thank you,

Search for Common Ground

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. 

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

2021 observance: “Building back better: Supporting survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in the context of pandemic recovery”

Join us from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT on Thursday, 17 June 2021 via UN WebTV live webcast

Commemorating the 7th official observance, this year’s virtual event is co-hosted by the Office of the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Office of the SRSG on Children and Armed Conflict and the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations.

The purpose of the event is to stand in solidarity with the survivors and those working to support them on the frontlines, often at great personal risk, particularly in the current climate of intersecting crises. The event will provide a platform for strategic reflection on ways to integrate the specific rights, needs and perspectives of survivors of CRSV into national and regional COVID-19 response and recovery plans, to ensure they are not forgotten in a climate of intersecting crises and constrained resources.

The impact of COVID-19 on survivors of conflict-related sexual violence

The chronic underreporting of conflict-related sexual violence, due to stigma, insecurity, fear of reprisals, and lack of services, has been compounded by COVID-19 containment measures. Lockdowns, curfews, quarantines, fears of contracting or transmitting the virus, mobility restrictions, and limited access to services and safe spaces, as shelters closed and clinics were repurposed for the pandemic response, added a layer of complexity to existing structural, institutional and sociocultural barriers to reporting.

Proactive measures to foster an enabling environment for survivors to safely come forward and seek redress have become more urgent than ever. The pandemic has laid bare the intersecting inequalities that plague our societies, as compounded by conflict, displacement, and institutional fragility. The only solution for these overlapping ills is an injection of political resolve and resources equal to the scale of the challenge.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch.  For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. 

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression

It is a sad reality that in situations where armed conflict breaks out, it is the most vulnerable members of societies – namely children, who are most affected by the consequences of war. The six most common violations are recruitment and use of children in war, killing, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.

On 19 August 1982, at its emergency special session on the question of Palestine, the General Assembly, “appalled at the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of Israel’s acts of aggression”, decided to commemorate 4 June of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.

The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN’s commitment to protect the rights of children. Its work is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.

Following the ground-breaking Graça Machel report, which drew global attention to the devastating impact of armed conflict on children, in 1997 the General Assembly adopted 51/77 Resolution on the Rights of the Child. To learn more about how and why the UN commemorates this observance, visit un.org/en/observances/child-victim-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights-NY, please visit childrightsny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com

Informal Meeting of the GA Plenary on Syria with President of the GA

Dear Civil Society Partners,

The UN Human Rights Office in NY wishes to inform you about an upcoming informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic pursuant to A/RES/74/169. The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages.

Further information, including with respect to the modalities for interested civil society representatives to submit questions to the high-level panel, is included in the correspondence below from the President of the General Assembly.

Sincerely,

UN Human Rights NY

 

Excellency,

I have the honour to inform you that I will convene an informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief the General Assembly pursuant to A/RES/74/169, operative paragraph 37, in which the General Assembly,

“Urgently request[ed] the convening of a high-level panel discussion, funded by voluntary contributions, led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Commission of Inquiry and Syrian civil society to brief the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and encourages United Nations monitoring and reporting to help this panel to further document violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, to provide recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures, and to feature witness testimony of Syrian human rights defenders and other Syrian voices through appropriate and safe means”.

In addition to briefing on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic the panel will focus on:

(i) violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, in particular arbitrary detention, torture, the missing and disappeared, with a focus on women, peace and security; and,

(ii) recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures.

The high-level panel will be moderated by Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant SecretaryGeneral for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York. Ms. Brands Kehris will also present OHCHR’s role in documentation, accountability, and engagement with key counterparts including the United Nations, humanitarian partners and accountability mechanisms such as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI), the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), the Syrian Government, and civil society. The high-level panel will be comprised of the following six panelists from the COI and civil society:

  • Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair, COI
  • Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner, COI
  • Hanny Megally, Commissioner, COI
  • Mazen Darwish, President, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression;
  • Sabah Hallaq, Syrian League for Citizenship
  • Wafa Moustafa, Families for Freedom.

The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages. Each panelist will have up to 7 minutes to deliver his/her remarks. The floor will then be open for up to 3-minute interventions and/or questions. Please note that there will be no pre-established list of speakers for this meeting. For planning purposes only, delegations are encouraged to register their interest to speak by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, 26 February 2021 via e-mail to Mr. Igor Bondiuk (igor.bondiuk@un.org), Human Rights Adviser, copying Ms. Hila Wesa (wesa@un.org), Team Leader for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

Civil society representatives interested in submitting questions to the high-level panel are requested to do so by 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, 24 February 2021, via e-email to Ms. Giorgia Passarelli (passarellig@un.org), Human Rights Officer at OHCHR. The moderator will select some of the questions for the panelists to answer during the discussion.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Volkan BOZKIR

View this meeting via UN Web TV here on March 2, and read the full schedule of General Assembly Plenary and Related Meetings here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

[UN Observance] International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

Each year on February 6, the United Nations Commemorates the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Over 200 million girls and women alive today have experienced FGM. In 2019, an estimated 4.1 million girls were at risk of being cut. In 25 countries where FGM is routinely practiced and data are available, an estimated 68 million girls will be cut between 2015 and 2030 unless concerted and accelerated action is taken.

To learn more about UNFPA & UNICEF’s Joint Programme to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation, currently in Phase III, click here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign to End Violence against Women will commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. The International Day and virtual event will kickstart the global mobilization of the 16 Days of Activism campaign – running from 25 November until 10 December – under the theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”

Even before COVID-19, violence against women was one of the most widespread violations of human rights, with almost 18 percent of women and girls experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last year. During COVID-19, calls to violence against women helplines increased up to five fold in the first few weeks of the pandemic. For every 3 months the lockdown continues, an additional 15 million women are expected to be affected by violence.

Calling for a “cease-fire at home”, the UN Secretary-General urged governments earlier this year to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of national response plans for COVID-19. While UN Member States responded, and 135 countries have adopted measures to prevent or respond to violence against women during this global crisis, only 48 countries – less than a quarter of the 206 analysed in a recent study – treated violence against women and girls-related services as an integral part of their national and local COVID-19 response plans, with very few adequately funding these measures. The culture of impunity still prevails widely, and the pandemic is threatening to undo any progress as women are not being able to access the live-saving care and support they need.

The commemoration will be an opportunity for Member States, civil society, influencers and the UN System to spark a renewed sense of urgency and bolster global action to end violence against women and girls by calling on all to: fund essential services on gender-based violence and women’s organizations who are at the forefront; to respond to the needs of survivors, including during the global pandemic; to prevent gender-based violence from happening in the first place by challenging cultural and social norms, mobilization campaigns and a zero-tolerance policy; and to collect data to improve services, programmes and policies. In the lead up to the commemoration, UN Women has appealed to Member States to make concrete, tangible commitments during the 16 Days of Activism.

Join the kickoff event on Wednesday, 25 November 2020, from 10:00 am – 11:30 am EST

Participants:

Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres
Member States representatives
Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Under-Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem
UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors Nicole Kidman and Cindy Bishop
Co-Hosts Zahra Al Hilaly and Stuart Moir
With the musical performance of Ensemble Corona, Bosnia and Herzegovina

How to watch:

Please note that the event will be held in English with simultaneous interpretation provided in all official UN languages. Participants need to pre-register and attend the event through the Zoom platform to be able to access the language interpretation.

Live Webcast of the event will be available on UN Women’s website and UN Web TV. Follow the online conversation using the hashtags #orangetheworld and #16days and follow @SayNO_UNiTE and @UN_Women on Twitter.

Stories and more: We handed over the mic to survivors and those on the forefront of response efforts. Read and share stories of change, videos, interactives, and social media messages, and check out the 16 Days editorial content at https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org.